Death’s Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar from South Africa

Subject: Death’s head hawkmoth
Location: Vereniging, Vaal Triangle, Gauteng, South Africa
November 29, 2013 12:51 am
Dear ’Bugman’
I’m currently a Science teacher in Vereniging, Vaal triangle area and I’ve been a field guide for many years prior to returning to teaching.
One of my learners brought this larvae to me this morning and my first though was that it was the larvae of a lunar moth, but after doing some research on the internet, I’ve noticed that although the lunar moth larvae and the Death’s head Hawkmoth’s larvae look quite similar, they are indeed quite different and I’m quite convinced that it is indeed a Hawkmoth (Acherontia atropos) larvae, but I’m not sure about the distribution and I would just like to confirm it and if it is indeed, would you perhaps know what the Afrikaans name is?
Thank you for your time. I look forward to your response.
Signature: Regards: Cobus

Death's Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar
Death’s Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Cobus,
We concur with your identification of the Hornworm of a Death’s Head Hawkmoth,
Acherontia atropos.  There are three species in the genus and they share the common name, and Acherontia atropos is the species found in South Africa.  We do not know the Afrikaans name for this fascinating moth.

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